Pussers Red Devil
Revenge is sweet By Steve Unwin
While in DED in Rosyth, late 1975, the crew of HMs/m Warspite were accommodated in HMS Cochrane. This necessitated, for those who lived in and to the max, who stayed in their racks until the last possible minute, having to use the dockyard bus from Cochrane to the Dockyard and the submarine refit complex. Every morning while waiting for the bus, this Skimmer used to come out of the accommodation building, hop on his pussers red and shout unprintable insults at us submariners waiting for the bus, while peddling furiously, leaping it off the pavement and disappearing down the road like Eddie Mercs.
This particular occurrence went beyond being insulting and became somewhat of a ritual. Everyone would be waiting to hear what today’s wonderful quote would be or whether anyone would catch him. There were quite a few submariners there as we shared the bus with the refit crew from a bomber.
Now it had not gone unnoticed that this particular skimmer would secure his pussers red with a substantial chain and padlock to the metal banisters just inside the door of the block. So he went to his slumbers every night in the safe knowledge that his beloved pussers red would be there in the morning. How he must have cherished that red gleaming speed machine.
One morning while standing waiting as usual for the dockyard bus, out comes our skimmer with his trusty steed; the sun glistened on the highly polished chrome wheels, and I’m sure there was a faint hint of 2 in 1 in the air as he accelerated past, shouting his usual tirade of humourless insults. Faster he pedalled, his legs becoming a blur of revolving, steaming bats and No8 trolleys. There was a gasp of excitement as he lifted the front wheel in anticipation of the fast approaching launch off the pavement onto the black tarmacadam. He lifted off, and for a fleeting second it looked as though he could indeed fly, man and machine had become one, it was poetry in motion.
As the spinning wheels made contact with ground there was a loud scream, something had gone tragically wrong. The pussers red began to disintegrate, the skimmer struggled but managed to keep control long enough for his highly polished steamin bats to make contact with the tarmac. Still holding the handle bars in front of him as if riding some ghostly pussers red he ran and waddled penguin like to a stop, managing to miss impalement of his wedding tackle on the various bits of spinning, falling pussers red.
As he stood amid the carnage and tangled wreckage that had once been his beloved pussers red, we glided silently past onboard the dockyard bus. No-one cheered or shouted, we were smug with satisfaction of our small but significant victory. Another successful mission, yes the silent service had struck again! A single arm was slowly raised in the rear window of the bus, a lone index finger aloft in a victorious gesture of defiance.
During the night three darkened figures had not been seen to silently approach the securely shackled machine. Without the practised touch gained from no meticulous planning two of the darkened figures did not begin to saw nearly all the way through each major joint on the frame of the skimmer’s beloved pussers red. Figure no 3 did not fill the new holes with pussers scouring paste and did not deftly paint over the offending wound, with Paint, Pussers Bicycle, for the use of. No one ever found out who the cunning commando like figures had been and I in particular refute any allegation that places me anywhere in the vicinity!
Interesting fact: Pussers Reds just happen to be painted the same shade of red as Pyro lockers, well I never knew that!!